Pentagon Funds Lab-Grown Meat Initiative

One contract will fund research for novel cell culture methods and military rations.
Pentagon Funds Lab-Grown Meat Initiative
Packages of lab-grown beef alternative on display, in this file photo. (Zapp2Photo/Shutterstock)
Matthew Lysiak

A Department of Defense (DOD) initiative would involve feeding U.S. troops lab-grown meat as part of its campaign to stem “global climate change,” according to a watchdog group that has recently drawn attention to the initiative.

BioMADE, a lab-grown meat manufacturer which is sponsored and funded by the U.S. Department of Defense, touted its record of innovation in announcing a federal funds budget ceiling increase to $500 million to assist in implementing the plan, according to a March 7 release.

“BioMADE’s research and development is already yielding significant progress in biomanufactured proteins, chemicals, fabrics, rubber, and more,” said BioMADE CEO Douglas Friedman in the release.

“Together with the DoD, BioMADE is interested in accelerating technology development related to mitigating the causes and consequences of global climate change.”

A document outlining BioMade’s proposal details its plan to grow food food using “novel cell culture methods suitable for the production of cultivated meat/protein,” and toward the “production of nutrient-dense military rations via fermentation processes.”

The Pentagon did not respond to questions about the contract.

Jack Hubbard, executive director at the Center for the Environment and Welfare, expressed concerns after reviewing the documents.

“Should U.S. soldiers really be serving as guinea pigs or lab rats for an experimental new lab-grown product in which there aren’t any long-term studies and the public doesn’t know the ingredients?” Mr. Hubbard told The Epoch Times.

“Why are we using American tax dollars to feed our troops a product most people wouldn’t give to their own children?”

Synthetic meat-like products are created by taking cells acquired from animals and placing them in a warm, sterile area—usually a metal vat—where they are then combined with a solution of chemicals that causes the cells to double once a day. Certain ingredients are withheld from the public due to proprietary rights of the producers.

The synthetic meat market has already arrived in the United States.

US Approves Lab Meat Products

Last year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) gave two producers the green light to start producing and selling their lab-grown chicken-like products, making the United States the second country in the world, after Singapore, to allow the sale of synthetic meat grown from animal cells.

Bill Gates, an investor in Upside Foods, one of the two synthetic meat producers approved by the USDA, believes meat alternatives are needed to protect the world from predicted catastrophic climate events caused by greenhouse gasses.

Ten percent of total greenhouse gas emissions in the United States come from beef cattle production, while energy production and transportation produce a combined 53 percent of emissions, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

U.S. cattlemen are readying for a fight to protect the definition of the word “meat” from producers of synthetic cellular-based beef alternatives.

“It’s a red line. It isn’t right that these factory-made products should be able to market and sell their products off the backs of the cattleman,” Justin Tupper, president of the United States Cattlemen’s Association, previously told The Epoch Times.

“We are talking about chemical-laced cell-cultured products that can in some ways simulate meat, but they aren’t meat, and the American consumer needs to understand that,” he added.

Other nations have already rejected lab-grown meat. Last August, Italy became the first country to make it illegal to produce or market the food, highlighting health concerns as the primary reason, after 2 million Italians signed a petition calling for a ban against synthetic meat products.

Without pushback, citizens will see further consolidation of the nation’s food supply, putting smaller, family-run suppliers out of business, according to Mr. Hubbard.

“They say its about climate, but when you take a step back and look the wide-scale adoption of lab-grown meat it appears to be more about taking a decentralized global farming supply chain and transforming it into factories that would be controlled by the few,” he said.

Matthew Lysiak is a nationally recognized journalist and author of “Newtown” (Simon and Schuster), “Breakthrough” (Harper Collins), and “The Drudge Revolution.” The story of his family is the subject of the series “Home Before Dark” which premiered April 3 on Apple TV Plus.